Microsoft hasn’t officially announced it yet, but the writing is on the wall: Windows 10 live tiles go away. Windows 10X has a new Start menu without dynamic thumbnails, and we expect it to happen on all versions of Windows 10.
Windows 10X has a Start menu without dynamic thumbnails
Windows 10X is the canary in the coal mine. This new version of Windows 10 is designed for dual screen devices, but that’s not all. Windows 10X is a modern version of Windows 10 that runs applications in containers. Beyond that, it includes a new simplified interface.
This simplified interface includes a new Start menu. Rather than presenting dynamic thumbnails, it provides a simplified list of your installed applications. It is a grid-based view with icons rather than tiles.
Windows 10X is still in development and has yet to be released. Microsoft clearly uses it as a test platform for a simplified desktop interface, and the new Start menu is one of them.
Really, let’s be honest: Microsoft is creating a new Windows 10 interface for folding tablets. Dynamic thumbnails are clearly more useful on a tablet than on a desktop computer. If Microsoft doesn’t think dynamic tiles are a great fit for a modern tablet, why should Microsoft continue to use dynamic tiles on the standard desktop version of Windows 10?
New Windows 10 icons aren’t designed for dynamic thumbnails
Microsoft announced a set of new icons for Windows 10 on February 20, 2020. The new icons abandon the pioneering, one-color aesthetic of Windows 8 and offer more color and complexity. Here’s how Christina Koehn from Microsoft Explain how Microsoft wants to make its icons more consistent on different platforms:
Flat and monochrome icons look great in the context of colored tiles, but as more styles of icons enter the ecosystem, this approach needs to evolve.
The new icons of the latest development versions of Windows 10 are not really suitable. Rather than using your system accent color, like existing dynamic tiles do, these new tiles always use a blue background color. After all, they wouldn’t look good on certain background colors.
These icons are much better on a Windows 10X style grid of icons than a set of Windows 8 style tiles.
Microsoft has started updating the system application icons for Windows Insiders. The new ones do not use the accent color of your system and seem quite out of place in the current boot menu. Maybe the 10X start menu could go to the office as soon as possible. pic.twitter.com/bsJnXu6sC6
– Cody Carson (@hologei) February 20, 2020
Dynamic thumbnails are already glorified shortcuts (mainly)
Live tiles were said to be a quick way to access information without opening an app. They originally appeared on Windows Phone, adding more information to the application shortcuts on your home screen.
In Windows 8, your start screen took all of your display. The dynamic thumbnails were designed to transform this start screen of a simple application launcher into a useful dashboard. You can see the weather, incoming emails, recent messages, news headlines, other status information directly on the thumbnail of each app without opening the app.
Today Windows 10 displays all the apps you pin to your Start menu in a tile grid. Most apps don’t bother to display status information in their thumbnails. For most people, these thumbnails are just shortcuts that you click or tap to open an app.
Goodbye, living tiles
The next Windows 10 update, also called Windows 10 version 2004 or 20H1, is expected to be released around May 2020. This update is almost complete, so we don’t expect to see any major changes to it in the Start menu.
However, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Microsoft abandon live thumbnails for icons in late 2020 (with the 20H2 update) or in 2021. This will give Microsoft time to refine the new interface based on icons in Windows 10X before launching it. on all Windows 10 PCs.
Windows Latest reports that “people familiar with development” have said, “Microsoft plans to replace dynamic thumbnails with icons in a future update after Windows 10 20H2 is released.” Whether this rumor is true or not, the writing is on the wall. Most Windows 10 users don’t use dynamic thumbnails, and Microsoft clearly foresees a future without them.
We have already seen a leaked version of this Start menu appears in Windows 10 desktop versions in July 2019. The leaked version is clearly a work in progress, but it is already much better suited for the Windows 10 desktop than the current Start menu.